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cappie

FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

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cappie

John's Gospel does not present a sentimental view of love. This is a type of love that is shown in service and sacrifice. It is difficult to choose to love when faced with hatred and anger. Jesus tells the disciples that all will know that they are his disciples because of the love they show for one another. This description of the early Christian community will be repeated in the Acts of the Apostles: “See how they love one another.” Christian love is the hallmark of Christianity.  

 “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.”

With these words, Jesus turns the world order upside-down—in first-century Palestine and here, today. Jesus tells us that everyone will know we are his disciples if we have love for one another. And it sounds quite simple, doesn’t it? Just love.

Love your neighbour. Love yourself. Love your enemy. Love your spouse. Love your friend. Love your bus driver, your mailman, your pharmacist. Love everyone. Now, some of that may be harder than other parts, right? Like, “Love your enemy.” But the overall gist: love—that’s something we can affirm. Love is the answer.

As St. Paul tells us, love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:7). If love can do all that, it really is the answer.  There is a “ Way of Love.” In this way, we seek love. We seek freedom. We seek abundant life. We seek Jesus.

 First, we seek Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life—and by choosing to follow him, we join forces with the power to change lives and to change the world for good. And it is a choice, made not just once in a lifetime, but over and over again.

By seeking Jesus, we are seeking abundant life. Not riches, or power, or status—but a life overflowing with joy, peace, and generosity. A life of meaning, given back to God and lived for others.

Second, to make this possible, we are seeking freedom.  freedom—from the powers of fear, sin, oppression, and division. These “powers that be” pull us from living as God created us to be: dignified, whole, and free.

And third, free from those powers, we are seeking love. To know God’s love, to love and be loved by others, and to love ourselves.  

We used to think that our privilege and our success were signs of God’s favour, allowing us to condemn others less fortunate for not pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps—but we have to see that same privilege and success as a means of empowering us to lift up the lowly.

 Because that is what the Way of Love has shown us.

 We used to think that our privilege and our success were signs of God’s favour, allowing us to condemn others less fortunate for not pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps—but we have to see that same privilege and success as a means of empowering us to lift up the lowly.

Because the Way of Love has shown us what is good.

 We used to believe a lot of things, things that caused us to oppress others, to disparage those different from ourselves, to ignore the refugee and stranger, to be fearful of the unknown—but we have turned from those sinful ways. Because the Way of Love has shown us what is true.

 The love of Jesus was merciful, forgiving, compassionate, and self-sacrificing. It was far more than kind words and warm feelings. His love led him to put others before himself, it led him to stoop down and wash feet, and it led him to be lifted high on a cross.
 
It’s easy for us to consider ourselves as “passable” Christians if we grade ourselves. But the mark that will count on our final transcript is not the one we award ourselves, but the one based on the criteria set by Jesus, our teacher. “Love one another. As I have loved you.”


 

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